Monday, March 26, 2018

Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign to launch in underserved schools

State officials have announced the launch of an Illinois Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign, a three-year program that will be offered to students at 25 elementary and middle schools in underserved communities.

The Illinois Math and Science Academy’s IMSA Fusion program presents a new curriculum for middle school teachers to inspire 4th through 8th graders to study math and science and pursue careers in technology, medicine, education, and business.

Abbott and Wintrust are the presenting sponsors of the Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign. All Bicentennial Office programs are privately financed. Additional funding for this campaign is provided by Boeing, Ingredion, and Motorola.

“The Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign will inspire hundreds of young students across the state at an important time in their educational development,” said Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. “This program is another great example of the emphasis we have put on early education.”

“IMSA Fusion is a unique and proven approach to providing teachers with stimulating curriculums in math and science,” commented Illinois Math and Science President Jose Torres. He said he is excited to partner with state officials to reach 25 additional schools in Illinois.

IMSA Fusion is a teacher professional development and student STEM enrichment program for Illinois students who are talented, interested, and motivated in mathematics and science. IMSA Fusion places a special emphasis on students who are historically underrepresented in those areas. Fusion works with teachers and students in grades 4-8.

A STEM Fusion school committee will award the program to 25 schools, each receiving a three-year teacher training program. A five-person school selection committee will review the applications. The committee includes: Emily Bastedo, Senior Advisor to the Governor; Dr.Kevin Pitts, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education- University of Illinois; Ross Hemphill, Board Member- IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education; and Jenna Daugherty, Divisional Vice President of Global Social Responsibility- Abbott; and Susana Meza, Vice President, Marketing-Wintrust Financial.

The schools will be chosen based on serving predominately under-represented populations, their commitment to embedding IMSA Fusion into the regular school day as an elective/encore/CTE course, and requiring teachers to undertake five full days of professional development and a sustainability plan to continue the IMSA Fusion after the three-year award expires.

Applications are due by April 13. Announcement of selected schools will be no later than May 17.

Applications can be submitted through

About the Illinois Bicentennial
On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the union. The Illinois Bicentennial is a year-long celebration of what has been born, built, and grown in the state, and a reminder of why so many people are #IllinoisProud.

Citizens are encouraged to participate in the celebration by visiting and using the hashtag #IllinoisProud. Partners and event and project managers planning activities between Dec. 3, 2017, and Dec. 3, 2018, can apply for endorsement to become an official part of Illinois' Bicentennial by visiting the PARTICIPATE page at